At least 61 dead in four states from dust storm

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At least 11 people, including five children, were killed in the eastern state of West Bengal, said S Suresh Kumar, principal secretary at the state disaster management department, while four people were killed in the eastern state of Odisha, said Prabhat Mohapatra, deputy special relief commissioner.

The toll in a dust storm that hit parts of Uttar Pradesh has risen to 39, officials said today.

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Lightning bolts killed twelve people in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, while two people died in both Bihar state and the Indian capital New Delhi.

Trees and electricity lines have been blown over and homes have been demolished by the extreme weather that has seen huge quantities of dust and sand swirl in the air.

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Trains have been cancelled and dozens of flights were diverted from New Delhi's global airport as the storm blew into the city.

Thunderstorms claimed 14 lives in West Bengal while 12 weather-related deaths were reported from Andhra Pradesh, two in Delhi and one in Uttarakhand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he "prayed" for the speedy recovery of those who were injured and he asked officials to provide assistance. He added that many of those who had died had been killed as their homes collapsed amid heavy winds and lightning. They said 121 houses were damaged in various parts of the state in last night's storm that affected 25 districts.

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Powerful wind and rain storms have swept across northern India, with authorities saying at least 40 people have been killed. Large parts of India have been struck by deadly storms in the past month.